In this category; talents, elite athletes, (physical)coaches and medical staff members will share their knowledge and experience to inspire. Who are they, what do they do in sports, what has inspired them and by what or whom have they been inspired?ho are they, what is their involvement in the sport and what or by whom have they ever been inspired?

Who are you and what is your sport?
"My name is Stefan Boermans (24 years) and I am a beach volleyball player in the Dutch Eredivisie Beach Tour and in the FIVB World Tour. Because of my participation and performances in the Eredivisie my teammate and I became 1st in the overall ranking and got silver at the Dutch Championship."

When did you start playing volleyball? And when did you realize you could become a pro?
"Five years ago I was convinced by the family of my ex-girlfriend to take part in the volleyball training because I was there every Friday night to watch. That's why I joined Webton Hengelo for the first time in the autumn holiday of 2014. From there on, it all went very fast and people who have been in the sport for years said that I would make it only if I wanted to train for it. Now, 5 years later, I'm playing internationally, and I'm fully focused on beach volleyball."

You chose beach volleyball. Why?
"Beach volleyball is one of the 2 Olympic disciplines within volleyball. I'm more interested in beach sports because you have to do everything with one team member. It is much heavier, more complicated, technically more difficult but above all very challenging in a positive way. You have to have a certain click with each other, both in and off the field to perform as we do.
I try to radiate as much positive energy as possible during the matches by cheering and shouting. This will make me play better, which sounds very crazy, but in my case it really works. Furthermore, where and when possible, I’ll try to make younger players enthusiastic by sometimes playing a ball around or being very enthusiastic during training when I’m in fromt of the group. Through social media I post our cool results, which I like to share with friends and family who can follow me like this."

Where do you get your inspiration from?
"Where others can follow me through my personal Instagram and my duo Instagram, I often watch highlights such as 'TOP 40 Crazy Actions Beach Volleyball | FIVB Beach Volleyball World Champs 2017' on Youtube and summaries of major games.
I may be happy to be able to say that I am almost at this level, but it remains spectacular to watch the 'Ronaldo and Messi' of beach volleyball. I also get a lot of tips and tricks from the trainers, from which most of the technical improvements come.
In the end, everything you do comes down to passion and fun. As soon as this is missing or one of the two is missing, you can search for solutions, but you will be less driven within training sessions or finally tournaments. Whilst these are the places where you 'should' be for the sport you do. At least in top-sport-life this is true, recreational athletes can get their fun out of an afternoon at the beach with friends, without (intensive) training."

What's in your favorite training exercise?
"It sounds crazy, but I don't have a favorite exercise. Only during the match do I enjoy it the most when I can hit the ball hard into the sand or when I block an attack of the opponent very hard. But in training you repeat this so many times that it is not special at that moment. I also enjoy the professional guidance of my S&C coach (strenght and conditioning) which makes me stronger and more self-confident of my body in what I can't do any more than I first thought about myself. So simply, squatting, balance exercises and jumping power."

What do you think about technical developments in your sport?
"I think that in the future more and more will be done digitally, nowadays you can already see this in the gym of Beach Volleyball Team Netherlands. Your movement is recorded and projected on the television in front of you. This allows you to judge your own movement, this will also happen more and more with actions in the sandpit. After an attack or a block, via a slowing image you can:

  • watch your action
  • judge 
  • adjust if necessary to achieve the optimum desired result.

It comes down to a kind of test at school, you repeat and check your answer, only we do this through actions during exercises. Trainer/coaches also judge on this and strengthen their arguments with the accompanying images. These technical developments will undoubtedly increase performance."

What's your advice to future top players?
"My advice is to check everything you do to find out why you do what you do. The choices you make should, in my opinion, correspond to the goal you have in mind, provided that the most important thing that makes you practice that sport is not lacking: passion and fun. If you know what you do in white, the only thing that is missing is the way to it. Simply map out how you want to get there and make choices to achieve that."

Do you have a question for the 'board of experts' from the Sportsinspirator Community?
"How do you think you can help, guide or advise athletes like me to get the most out of my career?"

Answer from Jan Willem Teunissen (Board of Experts)

Dear Stefan, thank you for your question!

As an exercise physiologist/physical trainer I have worked a lot with top athletes. I think that the intrapersonal ability (motivation) you describe is very important, together with your mind-set on performance development. Emphasizing performance as an end goal is not always the right training attitude. The way I read it, you are doing a good job by optimizing the performance process (training; making a lot of mistakes, improving and training again), you are doing a good job there!

Advice: We know that for a long successful career it is important to have the 'total picture' of the athlete mapped and possibly optimized. That's why I would advise you to examine how you’ve organized your life around your sport, e.g. with a lifestyle coach. Where can you make a profit? For example, in sleep and nutrition. In other words, in the total organization of your life as a top-volleyball player, you may be able to make a profit, perhaps without knowing it yourself.

Good luck with your career!

Kind regards, 

Jan Willem Teunissen (Movement Scientist)